My garden is finally giving me some reward for all the hard work I’ve put into the garden the last few months. We are beginning to eat more regularly out of the garden. Our first zucchini have come in and I am determined to pick it while it is small and tender. We have been roasting lots of root vegetables like carrots and beets. I’m excited for what else my garden has to offer me.
Yesterday I harvested some of my dad’s beautiful lavender (Lavandula angustifolia “Hidcote Blue’). This lavender smells delicious and looks even better this year than last year (click here to see my harvest from last year). My dad said he cut back the plant pretty aggressively after the blooms were done last season which may account for the overflowing flowers this year. It was a bit challenging harvesting without disturbing the hundreds of honey bees visiting the lavender. I definitely need this lavender in my garden!
I always have my eye on other people’s garden space so when my brother and sister-in-law decided not to use their garden beds this year since they were expecting a baby, I jumped on the opportunity to double my growing space. They have seven raised beds in total and told me I could use five. The other two are full of strawberries and asparagus.
At the end of April, a friend, my daughter and I spend a day (or two) weeding, digging up the beds and amending with soil. The beds were extremely dry and difficult to work. Also the soil level had reduced significantly from previous growing seasons so we hauled in about 25 cubic feet of Soil Booster from Green Acres Nursery and 5 cubic feet of Earthworm Castings. A flurry of seed starting happened immediately when I knew I was getting the space. Because I will not be there every day to harvest, my plan was to plant things that don’t need constant attention.
Here is what the beds look like after weeding and new soil (and only 1 broken sprinkler pipe!):
This is everything I planted:
Bed #1: (farthest right bed)
– Delicata Squash
– Waltham Butternut Squash
– Detroit Red Beets
– Scarlet Nantes Carrots
– Blue Lake Bush Beans
– Lacinato Kale (6)
– Acorn squash
– Blue lake beans growing on bamboo trellis
– Zinnias (4)
– Mikado Turnips
– Lemon Cucumber
– Space Master Cucumber
– Tomato (Varieties: Big Boy, Sungold, Better Bush, John Baer, Moon Glow, Striped German, Hillbilly Potato Leaf & Fox Cherry)
– Zinnia (California Giant and Cool Canyon)
– Green Raven Zucchini
– Black Beauty Zucchini
– Early Jalapeño Peppers (2)
– Sweet Banana Peppers (3)
– Bachelor’s Buttons
– Tomato (Varieties: Nebraska Wedding, Moon Glow, John Baer, Sungold, Hillbilly Potato Leaf, Persimmon, Striped German, Big Boy)
– Giant Sunflowers
Sounds impressive huh? I am pretty impressed with myself too! I can’t believe I was able to start all of these plants from seed and able to fill a huge amount of space that otherwise would have been unproductive. I’m still waiting for some small basil plants to get a bit bigger before I transplant them and I think I will tuck in a few herbs here and there. Otherwise, this garden is ready to go!
Here are a few pictures from June 4th of what the garden looks like and a picture of our first harvest:
This morning I went into the garden to do some major harvesting. The week before the East Sac Edible Gardens Tour I slowed my harvesting so that visitors to my house would see what some of the vegetables looked like. This meant that I had an abundance of peppers, basil and squashes that were ready to be harvested this morning. Take a look at today’s haul! You are looking at about a pound of tomatoes, 2 pounds of basil, 8 pounds of peppers, and 3 and 1/2 pounds of Trombetta squash. Guess I will be busy today making pesto and pickled Jalapeños!
Coming back from vacation is always exciting if you have a garden. Plants have grown and there is always lots to harvest. The yard long beans do not disappoint! I picked the first of my Orient Wonder beans to put into a quinoa and tofu stir fry. Just two beans weighed 37 grams and one was almost 20 inches long (50 cm)! I quickly stir fried them with lots of other veggies and tofu in a bit of sesame oil. The taste was good but I think I am going to try to pick them when they are little younger. There are not a ton of beans on the plant but when you have 20 inch long beans you don’t need too many to make an adequate meal!
I have been more than impressed with my pepper plants. My mostly green harvest today was interrupted by a few red jalapeño peppers. Today I picked 1466 grams of jalapeños which is about 3 pounds!
The other week I was able to make a few more Quick Refrigerator Pickled Jalapeño. I made 5 jars so this is plenty for my monthly consumption. Today’s harvest is going to be pickled and then canned! A gardening goal of mine this year was to grow enough to can so I could enjoy pickled jalapeños all year long. I wonder how many jars I will get with my 3 pounds.
My dad is growing a different variety of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia “Hidcote”) than I am growing and it smells delicious. The stems are long and easy to harvest whereas mine are stumpy and not easy to bunch together. Plus my lavender doesn’t smell as good. So I harvest my dad’s and dry it out. I use a twist tie to gather a small bunch and cut! Hang it upside down until it dries out. Then you can separate the lavender flowers from the stems. I bottled mine into an old spice jar. I opened the top and put it into my linen pantry.